Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Transformative Power of TLC

Henry was tiny and fragile when we left China. His weight and height were below the lowest percentile curves for his age on the CDC children’s growth charts. Today he is within the 25th percentile for height and at the 50th percentile for weight, which means his weight has increased by a third and he gained nearly 1.5 pounds per month, an astonishing average for his size and circumstance. He gained weight and strength even during the months in which he recovered from his surgeries. For Henry eating became a comfortable stress reducer, which we obliged with lots of comfort food that was easy to slurp down even with a face full of sutures: soft scrambled eggs, overcooked milky macaroni and cheese, the stars from umpteen cans of Campbell's Chicken N' Stars soup. By Thanksgiving he began to look certifiably chubby, especially around his tummy and legs. But as he has grown he has also grown to be cheerily busy rather than sedentary; so he gets lots of exercise pushing his little cars or wagon in our long center hallway, chasing his sisters through the house or around the yard, and climbing ever higher onto beds or furniture. His eating has tapered off to normal and his weight is solid and better distributed on his little frame. His palate and lip surgeries seem to be holding up fairly well. Both could need adjustments sooner than later, but our doctors have been heroes so far and no doubt will be again. Speech and physical therapists now stop by for regular visits and are thoroughly smitten. More so today it appears that speech will be extremely difficult since the roof of Henry’s mouth and palate are entirely homemade and his new upper lip, so far immobile, is primarily just scar tissue. All things considered, this kind of thing is not unexpected and we have plenty of time, and confidence since he is such a quick and adaptive learner. Mainly, Henry has sturdily emerged as a very happy little guy, which is what counts. As the days pass it seems as though he has always been with us and in a sense, held softly by the better angels of our nature, he probably always has, within us all.


The Montieth Family said...

Henry looks outstanding! I love the fat cheeks! :)

mumma to many said...

It is amazing at how quickly they transform and how we also forget they haven't been with us forever!
He looks like a happy little man!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs Ruth in NZ